Ever been told to just Live A Little and try something different? I certainly have and sometimes I sit at my computer contemplating my life and the fact that I’ve never done anything really adrenaline inducing and out of my comfort zone. Occasionally, I wonder what it would be like to throw myself out of an aeroplane, but I never get much beyond thinking about it.
A couple of months back, Red Letter Days dropped me a line to ask me if I wanted to take part in their #LiveALittle campaign. They wanted me to take part in a bungee jumping experience that weekend. I didn’t even give myself an opportunity to think about it, I replied and said “yes”.
I told a few people who said I was mad. One friend said he didn’t trust bungee jumps. Another said I was being selfish, what if something went wrong? Doubts set in, but I told myself that if I really didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t have accepted the invite. Then the day before, I received a phone call postponing the jump and rescheduling to April due to bad weather. This time, I kept quiet and didn’t tell anyone about it.
The day came and I was up bright and early to make my way to the beautiful Cliff Lakes at Tamworth. The sun was shining, the sky a glorious blue and I was going to jump 160ft off the top of a crane over open water. Feeling slightly terrified but trying to hide it with a bright smile, I made my way over to the UK Bungee tent, where the staff were setting up and making their final safety checks.
Safety is absolutely paramount for UK Bungee Club and I felt very reassured as the checks were made and I started to relax – or at least relax as much as is possible when you are about to jump over water with your feet strapped together. For anyone considering a jump, but concerned about the safety aspects, this is what happened:
- I was weighed on arrival by the girl registering us. My weight was then written on my hand
- I was then weighed a second time by a second staff member on different scales and the weight checked. They then told me what colour rope I’d be using as the different ropes support different weights
- I was helped into a waist harness (this was for the back up rope in case the foot harness failed) and my feet were put into a foot harness, a bit like shackles
- A second staff member subsequently checked everything was fastened and I was asked to remove my nose piercing and make sure nothing was in my pockets
- Everything was clearly explained and when it was my turn to go up in the crane, the rope was once again checked and so was my harness
I commented that they were very thorough, with a nervous smile (errr, well, yes Helen, of course they are thorough, they don’t want anyone going splat!) and the man in the crane with me (Andy? I can’t remember, but for the sake of this post, we’ll call him Andy) joked that they didn’t want any expensive insurance claims. Soon, we were at the top of the crane and I took a quick glance at the view over the lakes, with the water gently shimmering in the sunshine. At this point, I was definitely feeling less nervous about the jump as my mind was going overtime and I was wondering what would happen if we suddenly got hit by hurricane force winds and the crane collapsed into the lake. With hindsight, this was probably nervous energy being channeled elsewhere.
The man who may or may not have been named Andy gave me my final instructions. I had to stand on the edge of the cage and my arms up like in a dive. He told me that he was going to count to three and on three, I had to jump and that injuries came from people trying to back out after they’d already jumped. Grinning like a wide-eyed maniac, I took my position. He counted. I jumped.
I screamed as the ground came rushing up towards me, it wasn’t exactly fear, but a mixture of adrenaline and the sensation of free-falling being like nothing I have ever experienced. Rationally, I knew I was safe, but if something did go wrong, it was out of my control. Falling with no control is a liberating experience. It was just me, the fresh air and my manic scream.
Funny, I never considered myself someone to scream manically. I’m the girl who remains silent on a rollercoaster.
It felt like forever, but it was probably only a few seconds before I bounced back up again. This time as I fell, I felt myself spinning and found myself suspended over the water. Another rebound and this time one of the staff on the ground was holding his hand out to me to grab. I did and he helped me to what I like to call the “crash mat” where I lay giggling, getting my breath back, realising I was trembling.
The whole experience was over from safety checks to leaving within half an hour. But I definitely spent far longer bragging about it on social media, casually uploading photos to Facebook of my ordinary Saturday morning.
One of the other “jumpers” was kind enough to look after my GoPro and film the jump for me. I am in the process of attempting to splice the footage together which I’ll upload shortly.
Would I jump again? The answer is a resounding YES. For me, the bungee jumping wasn’t about proving a point, or that I was brave. Many would say it was foolhardy. For me, it was to experience what it was like to be a dare-devil for the day and “jump” out of my comfort zone.
Red Letter Days offer experience vouchers for all kinds of activities from Afternoon Tea to Skydiving. You can read their blog on my experience here.